Ben Leersen may have taken a slightly unconventional approach to choosing a career, but it proved to be one of the best decisions he’s made. A casual conversation with his wife set him on the early learning path, and he well and truly hit the ground running! Almost two decades later, as Area Director, Ben now helps other Educators at the Y develop and grow, and is proud to learn from their experiences every day. As a strong advocate for men joining the sector, here’s how Ben is building a rewarding, stimulating career with the Y.
When asked about his career choice in early learning, Ben Leersen says the story is a “bit of a funny one”. It starts with a young and optimistic Ben on the hunt for a new professional path. Though he’d seen glimpses of early learning through his wife’s own work experience, he never entertained the idea of joining her – until one spur-of-the-moment comment changed everything.
Instantly, Ben found his calling. By the end of his first day volunteering, he was deemed a natural and offered a traineeship at the service. After receiving his diploma and spending eight years building his skills and experience, Ben was ready for a new challenge, and transitioned into an early learning training role. Then, with 15 years in the industry under his belt, an exciting opportunity opened at the Y in 2021 – and Ben grasped it with both hands.
Now, as Area Director, Ben oversees five kindergartens – Mildura West, Kathleen Kelly, Red Cliffs, Nangiloc and Robinvale. He plays a pivotal role in supporting our staff and helping our regional services grow, and we’re grateful for the zeal he brings to Y Kinders every day.
Born and raised in Mildura, Ben has a deep connection to the early years community. He’s watched the region’s services go from strength to strength, and is particularly proud of the growing representation of male Educators in the sector.
At the Y, Ben says all backgrounds and perspectives are welcome. Whoever you are and wherever you’re from, we want to get to know you! But there is one non-negotiable – and that’s having passion for the work you do.
It’s exactly what Ben has embodied during his time with the Y – and it’s only the beginning. Continuing to build a safe, positive environment for children in the area is a high priority for Ben, including developing more state-of-the-art facilities for his services. Personally, he’s excited to take on new challenges in leadership at the Y and develop further in his early learning career. The most ambitious goal of all? Ben hopes to add “author” to his list!